The Giant Sequoia tree is truly one of nature’s most incredible sights! These “skyscrapers” can be found around the Sierra Nevada Mountain range in California.
In this article, I’ll be sharing with you 20 amazing facts about the Giant Sequoia Tree.
Also known as the Sequoiadendron Giganteum, they are one of the Earth’s hardiest trees.
They belong to the Sequoioideae tree sub-family, and they are one of the largest and tallest trees in the world.
This tree is packed with breathtaking features, some of which are almost unbelievable!
Let’s take a look at 20 amazing facts about the Giant Sequoia Tree.
Unbelievably, the only place the Giant Sequoia grows is along a small, 260-mile strip, which is found on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, U.S.A.
This easily makes them one of the rarest trees on the planet.
Giant Sequoia Trees belong to a category of some of the oldest trees in the world.
They have a lifespan that can last as long as 3,000 years.
Think about the days of the ancient Egyptian pyramids and the old Pharaohs. Yep, the Giant Sequoia Tree has been around for that long!
Giant Sequoia Trees have some of the largest branches in the world.
Their branches can grow as much as 8 feet in diameter!
Giant Sequoia Trees have very thick barks. One of the thickest barks in the world.
Their barks can grow as much as 3 feet thick.
There is no flammable pitch or resin found in the bark of a Giant Sequoia. If it ignites in any case, the girth will slow the flames down until they are extinguished, long before they get to the wood of the tree.
Giant Sequoia Trees are protected trees. Logging them is illegal in the United States.
It wasn’t always so though, there was a time when logging them was legal, but it hasn’t been for over 100 years.
Giant Sequoias are among the tallest trees in the world, that is why many have given them the nickname “skyscrapers”.
The tallest Giant Sequoia tree is taller than a 26 story building.
It is 379 feet tall, and that’s a fact!
Giant Sequoias usually do not grow taller than 300 feet.
Yes I know, this sounds like a contradiction to fact 6, but it is extremely rare to find a Giant Sequoia that grows beyond 300 feet.
The tallest one (379 feet) is truly a one-of-a-kind specimen!
Giant Sequoias are among the widest trees you can find on planet Earth.
Their trunks can grow to as much as 35 feet across.
Do you know what this means? It means it will take about 6 regular sized humans stretched out from the top of their heads to the soles of their feet to match its width!
The “General Sherman” is a Giant Sequoia, that has a total volume of more than 52,000 cubic feet! This is approximately half the volume of an Olympic standard swimming pool.
The trunk of General Sherman weighs a whooping 1,400 tons (the combined weight of about 15 blue whales).
According to calculations, the wood gotten from such a voluminous tree can build about 125 average-sized houses.
As far as Earth is concerned, It is by far the largest tree by volume you can find.
You can find General Sherman at California’s Sequoia National Park.
Back to the “General Sherman”, it isn’t just the world’s largest tree by volume, it is also the world’s oldest living organism.
It is 2,100 years old and it weighs an unbelievable 2.7 million pounds!
Giant Sequoias are among the hardest trees on earth.
The older these trees grow, the harder their wood becomes.
The wood of a Giant Sequoia tree only starts to soften when it is dead and decayed.
Giant Sequoias are among the Earth’s longest-living tree species.
The only tree species that can outlive Giant Sequoias are Bristlecone Pines and Alerce trees.
Another interesting fact about Giant Sequoias is that as long as they are alive, they will keep growing.
They keep expanding in width and increasing in height until they are dead.
A Giant Sequoia cannot produce more than one offspring.
For its species to remain sustained, a Giant Sequoia tree can only produce only one “child” throughout its entire life span.
Giant Sequoias depend on forest fires to regenerate.
Weird but true!
When its grove is set on fire (courtesy of a forest fire), the heat tears up the cones on the forest floor, and the seeds are released.
The saplings then consume the nutrient-filled ash, which is gotten from burnt up deadwood.
It has only been a few decades since California’s forest rangers discovered this. Since then, they have intentionally lit controlled fires to help the Giant Sequoias in reproduction.
Giant Sequoias are immune to diseases. Funny, but very true.
Come to think of it, what manner of disease could affect such a gigantic tree?
Their resistance is made possible, all thanks to their very high concentration of Tannin. Coniferous trees (such as the Giant Sequoia) are known for possessing high levels of Tannin.
By the way, Tannin is an insoluble chemical compound that is resistant to all forms of diseases that can affect trees.
Tannin guards the Giant Sequoia tree against fungus and protects it against insect attacks.
As large as the giant Sequoia is, it ironically comes from very tiny seeds!
Take a wild guess – how many Sequoia seeds do you think will make up a pound in weight? 91,000 of them!
Yes, 91,000 Giant (or baby) Sequoia seeds make up a pound. That is how small its seeds are.
These trees cannot grow from roots or stumps, so their ability to reproduce is heavily dependent on its tiny seeds.
For the Sequoia seed-carrying comes to be open, external forces are required. These could be forest fires, or squirrels chewing away at the cone.
For these little seeds to be fertilized and grow, they need to make direct contact with bare mineral soil.
Giant Sequoias release up to 400,000 of these little seeds annually.
The National Park Service was formed, thanks to the death of 2 Sequoias.
In 1853, European-American settlers first came in contact with the Giant Sequoia tree.
Naturally, their first instinct was to chop it down, which they did (after 3 weeks of chopping). They called the first felled Sequoia “The Mammoth Tree”.
A year later, another Sequoia tree was felled. This one was called “The Mother Of The Forest”.
It was John Connes, who in 1864 was a California state senator, that called for the protection of the Giant Sequoia trees.
He persuaded Congress to pass a bill that would protect the Yosemite Valley and the Sequoia Grove from lumberjacks and miners.
The passing of the bill led to the establishment of the first-ever national park at Yellowstone. It also paved the way for the creation of America’s National Park Service.
Ex American president, Theodore Roosevelt, was a big fan of the Giant Sequoia tree.
He first came across the Sequoia during a trip to Yosemite.
Blown away by the size and awesomeness of the tree, he moved to grant the trees federal protection.
In his speech in 1903, he said, and I quote –
“As regards some of the trees, I want them preserved because they are the only things of their kind in the world.
Lying out at night under those giant Sequoias was lying in a temple built by no hand of man.
A temple grander than any human architect could by any possibility build, and I hope for the preservation of the groves of giant trees, simply because it would be a shame to our civilization to let them disappear.
They are monuments in themselves” – Theodore Roosevelt (1903).
One of the most famous Giant Sequoias recently collapsed.
Hard to believe right? What type of force could knock over such a large, deeply rooted tree?
Well, it’s true, the Pioneer Cabin Tree in Calaveras Big Tree State Park, which was one of the most popular Giant Sequoias in the world collapsed in 2017.
It had been leaning over for a good number of years, and it had a tunnel opened up at the base where cars were allowed to drive through.
This tunnel at the base of this tree was carved open in the 19th century, and tourists cars have been driving through ever since.
However, on the 8th of January 2017, a severe downpour finally pulled it to the ground.
The weakened base, caused by the man-made tunnel, and its leaning posture made sure it wasn’t going to remain standing.
I hope this article on 20 amazing facts about the giant sequoia has been very informative.